On Church and Culture

Today Kevin DeYoung posted the following quote from John Goldingay’s soon to be released Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Life (IVP, 2009)–

The Psalter goes on to protest about how things are in the world (Ps. 3; 4; 5).  Here a link between politics and ethics on one hand and prayer on the other becomes more overt.  The world’s not being as it should be may be a reason for human initiative; it is certainly a reason for prayer.  Ethical commitment without calling on God appropriates too much responsibility to us as human beings.

The Psalms will later declare that “Yhwh reigns” or “Yhwh is king” or “Yhwh has become king” (e.g., Ps. 96:10).  Generally speaking, it does not look as if this is the case.  Israel’s world often looked like one in which Pharaoh or Sennacherib reigned, not Yhwh, as our world does not look like one in which Jesus is Lord.  Like us, then, when Israel entered worship and declared that Yhwh reigned, it was often making statements that went against the evidence.  It was creating a world.

Admittedly, talk of “creating a world” could be misleading.  The Psalms’ conviction is that in the real world (as opposed to the world that we see) Yhwh indeed reigns.  In worship we are making the already-real reality in our ears and before our eyes.  We may then be inspired to go and live out our ethical and political commitment in the world outside worship in the knowledge that the world in which Yhwh reigns is indeed the real world.  But we would be unwise to make that a covert way of reckoning that it is our task to bring about Yhwh’s reign, which would be laughable if it were not a Christian that is alive and well. (p. 27)

FYI—This latest volume is the third in Goldingay’s large OT theology project:

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